A New Nigerian Counter-Con

It’s going to be hard to top the Dr. Abu exchange, but there is no shortage of con artists on whom the art of the counter-con can be perpetrated.
The latest round involves ‘Graham Dasuki’, whose familiar form letter includes references to doctors, alleged bigwig Nigerian politicians, and, of course, millions and millions of dollars they’ll wire to me as soon as I provide my bank account information.
Mind you, people do fall for this con. Some people have gotten so involved that they’ve lost tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. A few people foolish enough to go to Nigeria to get their money back have even been murdered ‘ recently as a matter of fact. These are bad guys, and they prey on the greedy and the not-so-bright.
But they’re not so bright either, as well see ‘

The con comes in. It’s the generic Nigerian scam template, with horrendous spelling and grammatical errors. Fortunately this guy laid off the ALL CAPS for once:

From : Graham Dasuki.
Date: 8 January 2004
Kindly excuse the strange nature by which this mail might come to
your attention. But, with very good intents and purposes, I have
resolved to contact you in the strictest confidence.
I am Graham Dasuki, the General Campaign Manager to Ex-Senate
President and Presidential Aspirant of the Federation of Nigeria,
Late Senator Dr.Chuba Okadigbo, who died few months today. During
the recent past presidential election, and by virtue of my
position ,I was generally incharge of all the campaign rallies,
finances,expenses etc.
Out of the total money budgeted to run for the election
campaign,three-quarter of the whole sum was spent. My late boss
(senator Dr.Chuba Okadigbo) who contested under the platform of
“All Nigeria Peoples Party”(ANPP) was rigged out, and the
incumbent President, Olusegun Obasanjo,emerged the winner through
At the end of the whole electoral process,we had a total sum of
US$30 million left. Later on, my Boss took US$10 million for
Court proceedings, as he sued the Electoral Commission (INEC) for
malpractices, leaving behind under my care the balance of US$20
million. Till his death few months back, he never had the time
nor asked me to account for this balance of US$20 million. And
due to the TOP SECRET OPERATIVES involved in the game of politics
in Nigeria, NOBODY else is aware of this US$20 million, till
Having taken certain things into obvious consideration, I have
decided to transfer this money over to you for safe-keeping, as I
will immediately join you in your country for final disbursement
as we are now through with the
state burial of my Boss since December 4th,2003. I shall Man the
resposibilities of transferring this money to you, (that must not
cause any worry), and all I require from you is your sincere
co-operation as well as to receive this money in your country in our behalf,QED.
You are entitled to 20% of this money as a due benefit for Good
Will, whereas 80% remains mine. And at this point, I am
suggesting strongly that every bit of information about this
propective business transaction be kept “TOP SECRET”, in that it
will be of our best interest. I anticipate for your quick
positive responce so that I will not be tempted to further a
fresh negotiation, and to this effect, we commence this
transaction immediately.Finally,please, do consider it proper and
make certain you call me urgently on my direct telephone line
(234-***-***-***)and also provide your direct telephone and fax numbers so that I can communicate you directly and urgently for more confidentiality.
I anticipate,once again, your Good and Godspeed business
Graham Dasuki.

A reply is crafted:

From: Albert Sharpton
Date: January 9, 2004
Hello Mister Graham. I received your email with much enthusiasm- such a great way to start the year, no?
My name is Mister Albert Sharpton, Chairman of the Tawana Brawley Defense Initiative which is a non-profit organization that helps the children. Michael Jackson -the singer- donated to us $12,000 US Dollars once! We help the children.
I am very interested in your offer, but before I commit myself to it, I need to ask a few questions:
1. Is this legal with your authorities in Nigeria?
2. Will I have to pay taxes on this income in the United States?
3. Where is Nigeria? Is it near Rhodesia? I can’t find Rhodesia on any map any more.
I intend to do good things with this money, and will give some to the organization I work for as well as buy a significant stake in businesses like Freddy’s Fashion Mart with which I have an interest.
I hope to hear from you, Mister Graham!
Warmest Regards,

The next day, a reply. It’s not often I encounter ‘unalloyed gratitude’ so I had to look that one up to make sure it was proper English.

From: Graham Dasuki
Date: 10 january 2004
Dearest Albert,
with unalloyed gratitude I write to acknowlege the receipt of
your mail.
For sure,this is a very good propective business if I must repeat
myslf.You can be rest assured that this is very legal and must be
treated as such in all grouds.
You do not need to pay any tax here or in the US of A. I have
already tld you that I am going to take full responsibilities of
all finances,and that is the reason why I only mapped out 20% for
you.But if you decide to partake with me in financing,then, you
have the chances of getting an additional percentage.
Nigeria is in west Africa, and its a country of its own.
Please,provide me with your tel/ fax numbers as requested and at
the same time,make available to me your full bank account details
where this money will be transferred.
Kindly give me a call as soon as you go through this mail.
i await your swift reply please.
Graham Dasuki.

He wants the bank info, and that’s going to be his main focus. I can only hold him off for so long before he gets irritated or catches on to the fact that he’s not getting it.

From: Albert Sharpton
Date: 10 January 2004
Hello Graham!
What excellent news that I don’t have to pay any taxes on such a transaction. You can imagine, taxes are no one’s friend here. If a dog is man’s best friend, then taxes are the opposite of a dog ‘ they may not have legs or teeth, but they would gladly eat all of your food, if you know what I mean. I make analogies up for sport.
After I sent you my first email, I went to the bookstore and purchased a map of Africa so I now know where Nigeria is. I can not find Rhodesia on the map and it’s driving me crazy. It should be near Zimbabwe. I have a friend in Zimbabwe, you know. He lives on a farm for the time being. Why did Niger separate from Nigeria? Was there a problem? Do you have the same currency?
Regarding the bank accounts: I will speak with my financial adviser Clay Aiken on Monday. Clay handles all my accounts and will know what account would be best to provide you. He oversees the Dana Plato Charitable Trust as well as all my financial matters, and he is quite knowledgeable about these things. I am not sure if it would be better to provide you with a checking account, savings account, Ameritrade, money market, Ponzi scheme or Roth IRA. All these accounts have different merits. I also have a joint checking account with my domestic partner and a tiered savings account that I call my ‘Rainy Day’ fund ‘ for special occasions. Perhaps this is a special occasion (Rainy Day)! Do you know which account would be more suitable for your needs? I don’t know if they are the same in Nigeria. All deposits here under $100,000 are FDIC insured.
I will attempt to call you on your gigantic phone number! Please pardon my ignorance, but how many hours ahead are you? If it is six o’clock here, what time is it in Nigeria? I don’t want to wake you up.
If it is too late to call then I shall wait until the morrow.
In addition, I would like to learn more about you as I find it strange to deal only with someone through the internet. Here are some questions I have for you, and my answers in brackets so you know me better too!
Favorite movie? (Yentl)
Do you have a pet? (Dog named Mr. Tragedy)
Wife? (No!)
What kind of car do you have? (Chrysler Montalban)
Favorite food: (Italian)
Christ Almighty,
A. Sharpton (You can call me Al)

A follow-up email after nothing is heard over the weekend:

From: Albert Sharpton
Subject: Your email
Date: January 12, 2004
Hello Mister Graham? Is your email working? I may have had trouble to reach you.

Which nets a response from “Graham”:

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: send to me now your full bank account details.
Date: January 13, 2004
Dearest Al,
Thanks for your mail yesterday and that of today.They are all
well received and acknowledged.
Honestly,I will very much like that we sould concentrate much on
this prospective transaction and allow the less important things
to gradually fall in place by themselves.
Consequently,I want you to send to me the full information of
your bank account so that I can apply for the transfer of the
money into your account immediately. Based on what you stated in
your previous mail,I am of the idea that the “rainy day” account
is more suitable for this transaction in that it is presumed to
be capable to contain the amount coming into it.
So,kindly furnish me with the details of your bank account with
immediate effect,and let me also have your full tel and fax
numbers so that I can talk to you timely.
Once again,I wish to make it clear that inasmuch as this
transaction is concerned,it must take priority over every other
thing.And to this effect,you are free to call me any time any
day,it will not and never be regarded as a disturbance.So,I am
wanting to receive your call today as soon as possible.
Mr.Al, If truly we must make out this together as you are making
me to believe, I want you to know that we must do everything
humanly possible to be ahead of time in all ramification.When you
call me today,we will discuss even better.
My kindest regrads,
Graham Dasuki.

Okay, so the jerk doesn’t want to talk about his favorite movie. Guess that’s one of the “less important things” he’s talking about. They’re always all about the bank account information. It’s like a teen on prom night: all they want is the prize. I’m going to have to get a temporary fax number, I think, in order to continue stringing him along. This guy is definitely smarter than Dr. Abu, that’s for certain. I don’t think I can get away with the outrageous stuff like I did with Abu. I decide to play the wounded soul:

From: Albert Sharpton
Subject: Re: send to me now your full bank account details.
Date: January 13, 2004
Frankly Graham I’m a little disappointed. I looked upon such an opportunity to not only make money, but to make a new friend. I have plenty of money, but I don’t have many international friends. That is why I wanted to tell you about my favorite move (Yentl) and car (Chrysler Montalban). I was trying to create some kind of a base knowledge of each other so that I’m not just communicating with a stranger.
You forget that we don’t know each other, and if I’m going to be asked to go into business with someone, I need to know if they like cats. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, no?
I am selling luggage on eBay if you’re interested.
My accountant Clay Aiken is already concerned that I do not know you well. When I spoke to him last I promised him that I did know you somewhat, and was hoping that you would have provided me with some aspects of your life; for example, if you are married, or if you have a cat. Something I could use to make Mr. Aiken feel at ease with my doing business. I am his boss, but I value his opinion. He likes cats, by the way.
At any rate, I am a little concerned that you are too eager for business with me so I will have to think about things for a moment. To be honest my feelings are a little hurt.
Your friend,
Al Sharpton

Several hours later, a response. As I’d hoped, he fell for it and his working his you’re my friend mojo.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: I never meant to make you feel that way !!
Date: January 13, 2004
Well My good Friend,You must not be disappointed in any way
because I never meant it that way.Is just that I thought it wise
that we have all the time in the world to socialize with each
other ,even much more than you can ever think.
I believe that I have a fortune in my palms to secure and would
not give in to anything,I repeat anything,that could make me
loose a fortune in flash.And this prompted me to contact you so
that we could do this with a team spirit.
All the same,I did take your points seriously and I am wanting to
believe that you would take mine as such,afterall, all I am
concerned is our mutual benefits and nothing else.
Admittedly,I am naturally in love with anything Mercedez
Benze,But for now,I ride on BMW 7 series,model 2000.It,s such a
sweet car and always assures your safety.I do like dogs and they
could be my best companion when well trained.I do like to watch
action films and my favorite actors are Jet li,Van Dam,Arnold and
so on.My best food is my native African food,it is best when
prepared by my Mum.I did travel alot and admire meeting people
and learn things about their way of live.
In fact,I am hoping to say more if i am opportuned,but all in
good time.
I am believing to have the required information very soon so that
we could be ahead of time in this transaction,and I am wondering
why you never called,neither did you provide your tel and fax
numbers for me to communicate you.
Be of good faith,stay cool!

After waiting several days (to make him feel like he lost me) I reply. The phone/fax number I provide is a disposable one from an internet service. Any faxes he sends will be converted to .tiff files and any voicemails to .wav.

From: Al Sharpton
Subject: Re: I never meant to make you feel that way !!
Date: January 19, 2004
Dear Graham,
I thank you for your email and your interest in working together that we may both buy yachts. I have thought about this, and I believe it is certainly in my best interest to remain good friends with you and to work together.
I agree with you, dogs are nice. But here- all the pooping. In the streets, the roads. I do not care for it, mind you.
I have attempted to call you in Nigeria, but I have been unable to reach your telephone. My telephone and fax number is (***) ***-****. Should you wish to send a fax you merely, use a fax machine. If you wish to leave a message, you can do so as well. Mind you, I will not be in the office for the majority of the day as today is MLK Day and we are celebrating. Please make sure to leave a clear message or fax so that we know who the message is for. We have twenty-seven people using the same phone!
Van Dam is very popular here. His star shines bright! Perhaps when I have acquired some money I will be able to purchase my way into elite parties with the likes of Van Dam, just as Paris Hilton has. Have you seen the Paris Hilton video? I should send it to you.
BMW and Mercedez, yes! I have a Toyota Schwimmer but that could soon change for certain!
I look forward to a prosperous relationship!
Al Sharpton

A response comes in. All is well with my good friend. He just really, really, really wants the bank account information so he can “transfer money” into the accout. He guarantees that we’ll never regret knowing each other – knowing that he fully intends to rob his victim blind. Shady, shady.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: urgently send to me the bank account details!!!
Date: January 20, 2004
My dear friend Al,
Thanks a lot ,both for your mail and Good understanding.I am
guaranteeing you that we will never regret knowing each
other,most especially by virtue of our prospective business
Besides,it seems to me that you forgot to provide the back
account details as I made it clear initially.Please,do make haste
and forward to me your secured bank account details so that I can
start off arrangements to transfer the money into your account
immediately.I wish to have this Asap.
Admittedly,I am going to call you soonest or preferably send you
a fax.But I am of the idea that this line,as you provided,might
not be all that good for this transaction,in that it is presumed
not to be safe since too many people use it at the moment.So,for
the best interest of this transaction,I strongly suggest that you
provide a more private and secured telephone and fax numbers for
this business only.
I am believing you do understand and hope you do something about
this urgently.
I look forward to having the bank account deatils swiftly please,
Truly In The best Interest Of Our Mutual Benefits,I Remain,
Graham Dasuki.

I purposely sit back and do nothing. Two calls come in on the disposable voicemail line I set up. One is barely audible. The other is “Graham” leaving me a message:

Hear my pal Graham.

He’s definitely calling from some place that has a lousy telephone system. He sounds like he’s in a tunnel with a megaphone. So now, this scam is officially costing HIM money. I get this a few hours after the messages:

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: send the bank details to me now !!
Date: January 22, 2004
I have tried severally to send you a fax since yesterday and
today,but your fax machine could not pull the fax message.Each
time the number is dialed,a voice will come up and say if you
want to leave a message,press one, and if you want to send a fax
press two,then I will press two and a fax tone will come up,then
I punched the send button, and it will not draw it. I even left a
message in your anwsering that you should call me,but I am yet to
hear from you.
Well,there is no problem.I think the main reason why I wanted to
send the fax to you at the moment is to give you my confidential
fax numbers with which you will use to send your full bank
account details, so here it is (234-1-*******).So, send the
information right now so that we can commence this transaction
fully. Please,as soon as you send the fax,do call me on phone to
verify if it prints clear enough or not.
I do be glad to receive your call and the bank information today.
Best regards,

Again, I hold off on replying. Actually, it’s because I’m busy and not because I have any grand plan. He sends another email. I noticed he’s reusing old message subjects.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: Re: I never meant to make you feel that way !!
Date: January 23, 2004
Hello Al,
what is going on? I have not heared from you for some time now,
and I wrote to you severally without receiving your reply.
Kindly get back to me as soon as you read this mail, and
please,do make certain you send those information as previously
Anxiously waiting for your swift reply.

In order to prolong the counter-con, I need to buy time. I’ve made up a dumb reason why I haven’t been in touch with him. I’ve also hopefully put off the bank-account-number-begging for a day or two. And best of all, I’ve directed him to call me at MovieFone in Los Angeles. Assuming the connection is as crappy as it sounded the last time he called, he’ll be on the phone listening to Mr. MovieFone, asking for Al Sharpton.

From: Albert Sharpton
Subject: My error
Date: January 25, 2004
Dear Graham!
What a terrible mistake I have made! This is probably hard to believe, but I received another email from another Graham (not you) and like you he was very similar in his plans to transfer money from Nigeria to me. Now, I thought all along that I was working with you, Graham, and now I realize that I provided the information to the wrong Graham (his last name was Sese Seko and he was related to Mobutu, he told me).
I am so foolish! But I will contact the other person and tell him that I made a mistake. Perhaps he can pass his good fortune to someone else. I told the bank to stop any action with my ‘rainy day’ bank account so I will have a new bank number tomorrow from the bank. This is a great inconvenience for me as well.
I apologize for such a stupid mistake. I have been very busy lately, so I understand how I made such an error. I have had to travel to Iowa and New Hampshire which are lovely states. There is no income tax in New Hampshire. Lots of cats.
No fax has been received yet. I will continue to check.
I will not be at the Tawana Brawley Defense Initiative office tomorrow, but I will be at the office of MovieFone. (310) 777-3456. After the message you can talk to the operator and ask for me.
Cheers and good things,
Albert Sharpton

“Graham” buys my story, then has the amazing audacity to scold me for almost falling for another guy’s con. He tells me “there are a lot of fraudulent people these days…” but neglects to mention that he’s also one of them. What nerve! I think he thinks that he’s playing me, as in “Oh, I told this guy there were frauds out there, then I stole his money, hee hee.”

He followed up with a phone call to the disposable voicemail number, but left no message. I can only hope that he called Moviefone in Los Angeles, the evil little bugger.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: Please, Be More Careful This Time, Ok????
Date: January 26, 2004
Dear Al,
In fact, this is completely hard to believe,I meant, how could
you make such a grave mistake.You see, there are a lot of
fraudulent people these days and they can be smart enough to
snatch a life time fortune from you if you just make one wrong
step.So, tell me,if this person who claims to be another Graham
had succeeded to impersonate you and possibly give me another
account to pay in the money,because I am sure you must have
mistakenly passed some of my personal contacts to him too,So if I
had remitted that money into a wrong account, this is how all our
efforts would have come to nothing?
You see, Al,You had better be extreemly careful,I know these
people and there story,they once contacted my Boss when he was
alive,my boss investigated them and found out that it was all
false.I am not trying to discourage you not to play along with
the said Graham,neither are my trying to get you to play along
with me,but I do think that we have a matter of great trust on
each other at hand and you deserve this earliest
notice.Meanwhile, you can investigate them if you are interested.
Concerning, the fax numbers that I sent to you,Here is the fax
numbers again,(234-1-*******).Please get me a well secured bank
account and not a tampered one,so that I could transfer this
money immediately.And, I am wondering why you have not called me
after all my efforts to reach you but could not succeed.In fact,
I want you to call me on my direct line,I need to discuss
something very vital with you, and voice-to-voice too.I want you
to call me as soon as you finish reading this very mail.
Please, ensure you send the bank account numbers as quickly as
possible,and call me as soon as you send it,to know if actually I
have received it or not.
I hope to hear from you quickly,meanwhile,be more careful this
Your Good Friend,
Graham Dasuki

Well, apparently my good friend “Graham” did call Moviephone and, as expected, doesn’t know what the hell ius going on. He is starting to get frustrated; so very lovely.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: In Fact, I do Not Understand ????
Date: January 27, 2004
Hello Al,
I can’t understand the kind of telephone numbers you have been
providing for me to reach you with.I tried to reach you again
with the new phone number you gave me((310) 777-3456), and all I
got is this,:if you want to do this,press 1,if you want to do
that ,press 2 and so on, till about 5-8 segments of pressing this
and that.What sort of line is this? Don’t you have your own
private and direct line through which you could be reached? And
you have refused to call me, then how do I know you are really
interested in this business or not?
In fact, this whole thing is begining to get me bored,and I am
not even sure of your level of interest.Even to send the bank
account information has just become a tug of war.
You see my dear Al,one cannot waste his time chasing shadows,if
you know you are not interested,why don,t you come up plain and
suit yourself? how do you want me to believe that you are
actually interested and you can give a valid and authentic phone
number, you can’t call me on phone, and most of all, you can’t
even provide the bank information I requested from you?
How can we continue going about the same stage in this little
transaction, when in real sense, we supposed to be rounding up
the deal?
Maybe,you are still taking me for a joker,or probably, you are
busy with another Graham as you said.Well, I am not discouraging
you,You can still go on with the other Graham,if you believe his
story, all I warned you about is to be careful,investigate
first.If not that you might not find it easy to come down to
Nigeria,I would have asked you to come down here and see things
for yourself,and probably,we can open the bank account in your
name here and pay in the money there,thereafter, we will both
return to your country and make the withdrawal over there..
Well, I hope to hear from you swiftly, or I will be forced to make
a fresh negotiation and consider it that you are not serious
about this business.
Graham Dasuki.

I got distracted and neglected to get back to Graham in time. Now I’ve decided to see how long I can ignore him. I like the fact that he’s “beginning to nurse the idea” that I’m no longer interested.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: from Graham.
Date: January 30, 2004
Hello Al,
I can’t just stop to wonder why you have to allow all these
delay.I am begining to nurse the idea that you may not be
interested in this business any longer,for if you have been
interested,tell me why these delay.I meant it’s uncalled for.And
I must be forced to make a fresh negotiation if I do not hear
from you before the close of office today and affirmatively too.I
am not trying to go contrary to my agreement to do this
transaction with you,NO! But you can even bear me witness that I
have been patient enough,neither did you give me a convincing
reason why I should still keep on waiting.
I do just hope I read from you,like I well said, before the close
of office today.

A few days later and he hasn’t yet given up on me. The guy intends to rob me, but his feelings are getting hurt and he can’t “tell exactly the reason for all these delay and silence.” The real reason is I got busy and opted to give other things precedence over Project Graham. But let’s let him wonder a little.

From: Graham Dasuki
Subject: from Graham.
Date: February 2, 2004
My Dear Al,
I have been wating to read from you ever since I wrote you
last,and I can;t really tell exactly the reason for all these
delay and silence.Could you please kindly let me know if you are
still interested in this transaction or not.Do I go ahead to
contact someone to replace you?
I need to hear from you promptly.